...or "Nessie" as she's known locally
Loch Ness in the North of Scotland near Inverness is the largest freshwater lake in Great Britain. But it's not its size that makes it so famous, it's its very special inhabitant - the Loch Ness Monster - or 'Nessie' as we affectionately call her.
Most people who claim to have seen Nessie have described a giant long-necked creature swimming in the water. This has fuelled the theory the creature is in fact a plesiosaur, an ancient aquatic reptile thought to be extinct. People who believe in this theory often refer to the survival of a fish called the coelacanth, which supposedly became extinct along with the plesiosaur but was rediscovered off the coast of South Africa in 1938.
There have been sighting of the Loch Ness Monster as far back as the 6th century, but it’s the modern day sightings together with apparent photographic evidence that have really caught the world’s attention.
There have been so many sighting of Nessie over the centuries, it would be impossible to list them all. Some people argued that a lengthy history of sightings is proof in itself the creature exists. While some sightings are cases of misidentified deer or boat wakes, and of course, there have been several hoaxes. However, there are still some sightings which can’t be easily explained.
One of the most iconic images of Nessie is known as the 'Surgeon's Photograph' which many thought was good evidence of the monster. However, the image was revealed as an elaborate hoax in the 1990s. Despite this and other hoaxes, the idea that Nessie exists continues to thrive and there are many more photos and films that have been analysed and are thought to be genuine.
You don’t need anything to join the search, you just need to get down to Loch Ness and a little bit of luck. And if you want to find out more about the history and sightings of Nessie head to the The Official Loch Ness Monster Exhibition centre nearby at Drumnadrochit where you can see all sorts of things relating to this mysterious creature including graphic and laser displays, sonar evidence, underwater cameras and computer studies.